Environmental Pollution In Nursing

Superior Essays
Pharmaceutical waste creates mass quantities of environmental pollution, and is quickly becoming one of the world’s largest pollution concerns. With the incredible advancements in medicine and pharmaceutical development, the concern for proper disposal of these medications has been largely ignored. Increasing education and public awareness on the subject are two great ways to begin spreading awareness concerning pharmaceutical environmental pollution. Unbeknownst to most people, nurses play a pertinent role in the education on pharmaceutical pollution, and are, thereby, attempting to bring about public awareness.
The improper disposal of medications, both prescription and nonprescription, has led to an astonishing increase in environmental
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While hospitals follow regulated pharmaceutical disposal protocol, home situations mostly do not. Education and public awareness are great avenues nurses can explore to assist in the ever-growing pharmaceutical pollution problem. Preventing pollution and advocating for change, however, might be more effective long-term and speed the process along. One way to prevent pollution is reducing “the number of drugs in circulation” (Ortner & Sattle, 2013). Advanced practice nurses can “prescribe smaller drug quantities, particularly with first-time prescriptions,” therefore assisting in the prevention of a surplus of unused drugs, which is specifically important for “first-time prescriptions [to] prevent an excess of unused drugs [should] a patient decide to discontinue” the medication (Ortner & Sattle, 2013). Nurses can encourage physicians to prescribe smaller drug quantities as well. A great way for nurses to become advocates for the cause is to encourage “improved formulations of pharmaceuticals that apply ‘green chemistry’ strategies, as well as [the] development of individualized, highly targeted drugs” so that “safe and more efficient chemicals” are created, lowering the …show more content…
Checking to make sure there is no reason to “hold a medication and [confirming] the patient is […] consenting to take [said] medication before opening” its packaging prevents wastefulness (McKeown & Pawloski, 2012). The use of individually wrapped medications and the barcode system have proved to be effective in reducing medication waste (McKeown & Pawloski, 2012). The barcode system reduces error by confirming the right medication is administered to the right patient before it is opened, thereby eliminating error and reducing medication waste (McKeown & Pawloski, 2012). By “avoiding the pollution of [the] environment; teaching others to do so; and supporting the work of environmental (especially ocean-related) organizations, nurses can support a sustainable environment and offer increased hope to a number of patients” (McKeown & Pawloski,

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